Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mental health advocates celebrate with a walk

Mental health advocates celebrate with a walk

21 hours ago
 
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, chapter in Scott County has effectively spread it wings of late and encompasses a six-county service area in the Quad-City region.

Now named NAMI of the Greater Mississippi Valley, the agency serves residents of Scott, Clinton and Muscatine counties in Iowa, as well as Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties in Illinois.

To celebrate the achievement, organizers hope to attract 1,500 participants to the NAMI Walks event set for Oct. 6 on the Davenport riverfront, beginning at Centennial Park. Sign-up can be done online in advance and in person the day of the walk. It’s hoped the fundraiser will supply up to $100,000 to support the many services offered by NAMI.

“We work hard to fight the stigma that comes with mental illness and to build up awareness of the services we offer,” said Greg Paulline, who co-manages the event with his wife, Teri.

Paulline said mental health funding is being reorganized and even cut in some areas of Iowa. NAMI can pick up where other sources leave off, such as with counseling as well as housing issues.
“All that is possible with funds raised at the walk,” he said.

The event is now in its ninth year, with almost $500,000 raised in that time.

“We are trying to get the word out about mental health services,” Paulline said.

NAMI of the Greater Mississippi Valley combines the group’s resources, said KD Flick, the board secretary. “We now have a farther reach,” she explained. “We are trying to get away from a fractionalized resource effort.”

The area NAMI chapter has support groups and educational resources. Free help is offered through the family-to-family support group that is available in Davenport and Muscatine. There is also a peer-to-peer group meeting. Also, a “NAMI Basics” class meets Nov. 6 to Dec. 11 in Davenport.

For more information about the meetings and events, call the office in Davenport at 563-322-8870 or go online to namiscottcounty.org.

“We’re all about advocacy, support and education,” Flick said.

Paulline said quite a bit of effort is going into promoting the Oct. 6 NAMI Walks event. For one thing, representatives of the agency will be out in force today, NAMI Walk with Me Day, standing outside Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee stores in Davenport, Muscatine and Moline. The volunteers will hand out information about NAMI and accept donations.

“That is another way to increase awareness,” Paulline said.

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